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I think you're jumping to conclusions

Reader comment on item: Bush Promotes a Palestinian "Right of Return"

Submitted by Robert Solot (Mexico), Jan 14, 2008 at 21:28

I agree with you on the substance, although I hope your quasi-prediction doesn't happen. With your record, however, there may be little hope of that. On the other hand, the "right of return" can mean many things to many people. It can mean a "just solution", as it did for the UN back in the 1950s. I won't defend Baker's use of the phrase, but I find it hard to imagine that Bush means what the Arabs think it should mean: that the five or so million Palestinian Arabs in their dispora should have the right to return to their homes in the state of Israel.

There are ways to provide a "just solution" for the refugee problem well short of this--offering compensation, admitting limited numbers of Palestinians, and so forth. It's obvious that this issue will have to be addressed in any negotiation anyway, just because the Arabs want it to be. I think Bush was simply acknowleging this fact, perhaps as a ploy. But it in no way implies that he's favoring the Arab line on the "right of return". In the quotes you put in your article, he's using "resolve the refugee issue" and "the right of return" as equivalent. This at least shows he's giving himself room to wiggle in on this, which is what people do in negotiations. Isn't it?

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